Little Sister Envy

The neighborhood 5-year old, whom Fern worships like the full-sentence-writing goddess she is, was nonetheless the topic of a complaint yesterday.

“She says I can’t have that dress because she still fits in it.”

Just another parenting moment, right? And a million lessons present themselves:

Graciousness. “Neighbor girl gives you a dress or a toy pretty much every time she sees you. Selfish, she’s not.”

Simplicity. “You already have so many nice dresses, you really don’t need another one.”

Pragmatism, even: “Neighbor girl is growing like kelp. You will probably have a shot at the desired dress within, oh, say, a week.”

But what I say is this:

“You like hand-me downs?”

Because she does, she thirsts for other people’s clothing.

Not me, man. Maybe it’s because I’m a younger child, so hand-me-downs are less to be savored as to be suffered. Or maybe because as a boy I never engaged in that typical pastime of female siblings: the sisterhood of sharing clothes.

But for Fern, the very thought of getting a dress from some other girl — some big girl — fills her with glee. She’s always been the bigger girl, the older girl, so naturally she loves the idea of being a little “sister.” Oh, and more simply: she likes stuff.

And, as the person assigned to organizing the ever-growing tide of clothing (and Fern will call every single piece “special” and she’ll tell you why), I’m just the slightest bit scared.